Rep. Huffman Unveils Comprehensive Water Resiliency Discussion Draft, Requests Public Input

January 10, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, today unveiled comprehensive legislation to respond to America’s growing water crisis and asked for public input on the draft bill before its formal introduction. Water professionals, advocates, and members of the public are invited to visit to read the draft legislation and provide feedback.

“Communities, economies, and ecosystems across America are facing increasingly stressed water resources,” said Rep. Huffman. “But working together, we have an opportunity to develop more resilient water infrastructure, meet the challenge of planning for drought and climate change, and invest in watershed health to benefit fish, wildlife, and downstream communities. Federal water policy does not need to be a zero-sum game, and it doesn’t need to be conducted in secret: instead, we can build on the best ideas from everyone to secure a better water future and a healthier, more sustainable economy.”

The new discussion draft builds on the oversight work of the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee chaired by Rep. Huffman in the 116th Congress and on the public process that helped to develop Rep. Huffman’s Drought Recovery and Resilience Act in 2015 that was supported by a diverse group of water utilities, conservation organizations, and many others.

The FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act invests in surface and groundwater storage, water recycling, desalination, and efficiency and conservation. It also improves drought planning and habitat restoration programs to ensure that natural systems are better prepared for a changing climate. The bill incorporates several policy ideas proposed by members of the subcommittee to build resilient water infrastructure, expand the use of modern water management tools and technologies, and assist disadvantaged areas in meeting their drinking water needs. It also includes policies to help homeowners make their homes more water-efficient, improve water data collection, and train job-seekers for careers in the water industry.

In 2019, the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee held several hearings to inform the development of sustainable water policy, including hearings on desalination and drought resilience, water recycling and reuse and improved water management for rural communities, western water infrastructure and innovation, and the projected impact that climate change will have on shrinking snowpack, reduced precipitation, and warming temperatures.

Full text of the discussion draft can be found here, as well as a section-by-section summary here.